“We will have time to do the update later, now that the support has been extended to 2027”, is what many may think of the SAP S/4HANA project looming ahead. It is not worth postponing the transformation and waiting for a new generation business platform for years. Now is the right time to start – and Sofigate’s Janne Parkkonen explains why.

The old SAP systems will retire by the end of 2027 when their support expires. SAP users are facing the transition to SAP S/4HANA – sooner or later.

While change requires work, the S4 transformation is top-notch news for business: SAP has invested heavily in the new system, enabling you to run your business based on real-time data.

So, when should you start the transformation project? According to Janne Parkkonen, Business Lead of Sofigate’s SAP Transformations business area, the time is now. Doing the transformation sooner rather than later ​​is an advantage for the following reasons:

Reason 1: The sooner you deploy SAP S/4HANA, the faster you will get new business benefits

The SAP S/4HANA as a system is anything but “just an ERP”: in fact, it is more accurate to talk about a business platform that brings the company’s function-specific systems together into a single interface. It does not matter whether you need SAP, M2, or Salesforce in your daily work to get your job done. The important thing is that the systems are easily accessible and shared through a single desktop.

Leading your business with data is one of the clearest benefits. You will have better access to information that is relevant to decision-making.  More information is available and in real time, in an easier and user-guiding format.

Your business will certainly be also interested in the simplification or automation of processes made possible by the S/4HANA. As process lead times are shortened by reducing or streamlining work stages, productivity will be improved.

The user experience is also completely different from the ERP systems of the past: The end user gets a new, role-based and functionally efficient way of working.

The S/4HANA is a constantly evolving innovation platform on which the company can bring new types of applications and services, such as IoT, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

All of this can be useful already now – there is no need to wait for seven years. This will make a difference on your business.

Reason 2: ERP modernisation does not happen in an instant – discover the scope of your own project

Sufficient time must be set aside for the modernisation of the ERP. The duration of an SAP project depends largely on its scope and the supplier’s ability to conceptualise the project and delivery. A medium-sized project can be ready in six to eight months, but if the SAP is used by a globally operating company, we are rather talking about years. The duration of the project is also affected by the distribution of investments between accounting periods.

The project is naturally divided into phases where you start by preparing the project, securing the architecture, and making a technical update. This is followed by a phase of continuous development in which the business benefits made possible by the platform are realised. In this way, the development is spread over several years and the impact on your company’s financial condition remains moderate.

The nature of the project is also affected by the type of S/4HANA the company is moving to. Will the new HANA environment run on a more traditional ‘Any premise’ type of Private Cloud solution? Or will you follow the trend and take the system into a public cloud? Or will you want the whole entity delivered as a service?

It is especially important to be able to tell the business how its processes change as part of the transformation. Process mining provides very good tools for reviewing the current state, monitoring the implementation of the desired operating model during deployment, and identifying the most significant automation possibilities for the business after the deployment.

Reason 3: The longer you wait, the more complex the project can get – and cause additional costs for your business

If everyone leaves the transformation project to the last minute, there will not be enough experts for every S/4 project. According to various estimates, the bottleneck may begin as early as 2022. The clock is ticking here in Finland, too.

If you wait too long, in the worst case you may be left without competent help. The best professionals are, of course, retained first, and the supplier’s abilities affect the quality and duration of the project.

It is also worth noting that if you continue to invest in the old system, the technical implementation may become more complicated. The more customisations, developments, or integrations there are in the system, the more there is to consider when moving to S/4HANA.

No SAP project is the same, and it is a system that is critical to business. Therefore, you should make sure that time is on your side.

How to succeed in the SAP S/4HANA project? Six tips by Janne Parkkonen:

  • Test drive S/4HANA as part of preparing for change. The simulation game is an unbeatable way to gain an experiential understanding of the benefits of a modern business platform.
  • The S/4 project is above all a business project. Make sure the design and development of the technology is linked to the strategic business goals. A good method for this is Sofigate’s Business Technology Design, which is a visual, understandable, and business-driven approach to developing business capabilities and business platforms.
  • Don’t take old process bottlenecks into the new system. Take advantage of process mining in your project.
  • Keep the core standardised, implement the technical change and a well-functioning production system quickly. Develop the solution further based on business-oriented goals and user experience through a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Be sure to take care of end-user training and change management. Make a plan of change management goals, metrics, and what happens during the project and when.
  • Make sure that your support partner’s ideology is based on in-depth knowledge of customers, continuous improvement services, and maximising the value of the business platform.

Are you interested in SAP S/4HANA? Call me so we can talk about what the S/4 transformation means in your case. Let’s discuss what business benefits you will get from the project and how to get it up and running. Contact: tel. 050 5747 185, janne.parkkonen [a] sofigate.com

About the author

Janne Parkkonen is responsible for the SAP Transformations business area at Sofigate, which is an SAP Platinum Partner. Janne has more than 15 years of experience of the SAP ecosystem. He is passionate about modernising business and improving customer competitiveness through business technology. At its best, the transition to a modern business platform is a huge, directly exploitable competitive advantage.

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